Olathe neighbors rallying to support family who lost home in Thanksgiving fire

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OLATHE, Kan. -- An Olathe neighborhood is coming together to support a family who lost their home this holiday weekend.

Caution tape still surrounds the John family home in Olathe after flames erupted on Thanksgiving morning. The family's home at the intersection of Montclaire Drive and Alta Lane is considered a total loss.

"Oh my gosh, woke up and just looked over here and saw a brutal fire that was flaming from the roof, flaming from everywhere," neighbor Harry Mullins said.

Neighbors called Rama John, who was at his sister's house getting ready to have a holiday meal, telling them their parent's home was burning. They rushed over and couldn't believe it.

"It was just in front of our eyes dissolving," Rama John said.

He said it's hard to see the house where he and his siblings grew up in total ruin.

"All our memories are gone. My mom was praying her purse made it through," John said.

Rama got to go inside the house this weekend. And amazingly, in the middle of the burned rubble, he found his mom's purse, which held her wedding ring, along with two scripture hangings, unscathed.

But he's most thankful his parents and two adult brothers, one who's hearing impaired, made it out alive.

"That is exactly what we're focusing on. Everybody made it out. We can't replace that. So the rest, we'll rebuild," John said.

And they're getting some help in getting back on their feet.

Mullins is helping coordinate donations and plans to offer updates on what's needed and where to give on this Facebook page. He said the generosity and offers to help have been overwhelming.

"The toughest time will probably be a week or so when everybody's kind of forgotten about them, but we won't forget them here. We're going to be here for them, and that's what we're trying to do," Mullins said.

"We didn't realize how much love there is in the community. I've even had people from high school who saw the house when they went by and was getting Facebook messages constantly of what can we do to help. It touched our hearts, and we're very grateful for that," John said.

Investigators think an electrical problem caused the fire. The Red Cross is providing the John family with temporary shelter until they can find a new place to live as the rebuild.

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